Search our Courses

Palliative Care

Area of Study Type of Course Level of Study
Palliative Care Award Specialist Certificate


Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care

Course Code


Course Abbreviation


Partner Faculty

Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science (MDHS), School of Health Sciences


The Centre for Palliative Care (CPC) has a state-wide role in palliative care education, with a focus on ensuring education is multidisciplinary and delivered by experts in their field who may be drawn from multiple institutions around Victoria as appropriate. The goals for CPC in regard to palliative care education are to:

  • Increase general understanding and skill in palliative care through education and training of the general health workforce

  • Develop future leaders in palliative care through programs designed to increase the number of palliative care specialists, and through facilitating opportunities for networking, peer support and leadership development.

As part of its strategy to offer education in palliative care, CPC recognised the need to develop a university accredited postgraduate training program in palliative care, which would be the industry standard for working in specialist palliative care and open to all disciplines as well as interstate participants. CPC partnered with the University of Melbourne to develop and deliver 'The Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care'.

Course Description

The 'Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care' is a formal award of the University of Melbourne comprising 25 points of training at Masters level, delivered as two standard 12.5 point subjects requiring 4 days of face to face teaching each.

The course aims to be the industry standard for working in specialist palliative care and is delivered by experts in their fields, drawn from multiple institutions around Victoria. The course explores the core concepts related to palliative care, including symptom management, communication skills, and evidence based practice, non-malignant palliative illnesses, psychosocial issues and the role of the family caregiver.

'Fundamentals of Palliative Care' is the core subject for the Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care. Students can then choose either Adult Palliative Care or Paediatric Palliative Care or Contemporary Approaches to Bereavement or Psychosocial Aspects of Palliative Care to complete the award course. The Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care is a stand-alone award in its own right that may be considered for credit into more substantial postgraduate courses (including the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care).

Delivery Mode A combination of face to face and online delivery, with a strong clinical focus.

Who Should Apply

The training is targeted at health professionals (all disciplines) who are required to provide palliative care in their work setting. A delivery format of two four-day subjects offered intensively throughout the year has been established to accommodate the needs of regional and interstate health professionals.

Over the seven years since the Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care was introduced, a total of 150 students have successfully completed the award course. Students have included health professionals from the following disciplines; nursing, medicine, social work, family support worker, occupational therapy, pastoral care, speech therapy, music therapy, art therapy, physiotherapy and hospital chaplaincy.

  • NURS90046 Fundamentals of Palliative Care

  • NURS90047 Critical Inquiry in Adult Palliative Care

  • NURS90065 Paediatric Palliative Care

  • NURS90073 Contemporary Approaches to Bereavement

  • NURS90074 Psychosocial Aspects in Palliative Care

NOTE: Subjects will only run if minimum number of participants is met. Please contact School of Melbourne Custom Programs for further details (+61 3 9810 3319)


Each subject is formally assessed to meet the requirements of University accreditation. Assessment is designed to be practical and clinically relevant for healthcare professionals.

Please refer to handbook for more information.

Pathways to Further Study

Students that have completed the Specialist Certificate will be given credit for study completed into the Graduate Certificate.

Additional Information

The Order of Malta Award is an annual prize ($1000) which is awarded to the student who achieves the overall highest academic grade for the year.

Some components of the award course subjects are also offered as short course options. Refer to the related non-award courses information below.

Academic and Teaching Team

Professor Peter Hudson, Director, Centre for Palliative Care AND Professor of Palliative Care Queens University Belfast, United Kingdom

Associate Professor Mark Boughey, Centre for Palliative Care and Director, Palliative Medicine St Vincent's (Melbourne)

Ms Karen Quinn, Co-Ordinator Education & Project Officer for Victorian Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Collaborative, Centre for Palliative Care

Mr Chris Hall, Director, Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

Dr Jenny Hynson, Consultant Paediatrician, Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program The Royal Children's Hospital

Melissa Heywood, Liaison Nurse/Manager, Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program The Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne)

Dr Di Clifton, Psychiatrist, Psycho-Oncologist, St Vincent's Melbourne

Where relevant, experts from other institutions and services are also involved in the delivery of the programs.

Entry Requirements

An undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification in medicine, nursing, an allied health profession, science or social science which is recognised by the University as evidence of adequate preparation for the course

Plus documented evidence of at least one year's full-time relevant professional work experience in a medical, scientific or allied health environment. Potential students will be responsible for providing palliative care within their current workplace.

Applicants are required to satisfy the University's English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

Course Fees

Fees in 2016 are $5,400 ($2,700 per subject). Fees are subject to an annual increase.

Fee Inclusions

Fees include tuition, course materials and access to on-line resources & catering (morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea) during intensive delivery of subjects.

As enrolled students of the University of Melbourne, students have access to a range of facilities and amenities provided by the University of Melbourne.


Fee-Help is a loan from the Australian Government to cover tuition fees and is available to Australian Citizens only.

Delivery Dates and Times

Semester 2, 2016

NURS90047 Adult Palliative Care

Pain Assessment & Management in Palliative Care*

9 AM - 5 PM

13 July 2016

Symptom Management in Palliative Care*

9 AM - 5 PM

14 July 2016

Palliative Care in a Non-Cancer Context

9 AM - 5 PM

15 July 2016

Family Centred Palliative Care

9 AM - 5 PM

16 September 2016

*Compulsory face-to-face modules for doctors and nurses

NURS90065 Paediatric Palliative Care

This subject will not be scheduled in 2016 but will be offered again in 2017

NURS90074 Psychosocial Aspects of Palliative Care

Identification and Assessment of Psychological and Psychiatric Disorder

9 AM - 5 PM

18 August 2016

Management of Psychiatric and Psychological Disorder

9 AM - 5 PM

19 August 2016

Special Needs and High-Risk populations

9 AM - 5 PM

22 August 2016

Supporting health care professionals to care for palliative care patients and families who are experiencing psychosocial distress

9 AM - 5 PM

23 August 2016

NOTE: Subject will only run if minimum number of participants is met. Please contact School of Melbourne Custom Programs for further details +61 3 9810 3319

Delivery Venue

Graduate House

220 Leicester St, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia, 3053

Online Learning System - SOLE

Once you have enrolled you will be issued with a Student Online Learning Environment (SOLE) user name and password where you can access all course materials and activities as well as being able to interact with other students using this platform e.g. participating in discussion forums.

Applications Close

Applications for semester 2 are now open. Limited places available therefore an early application is advised.

Related Award course

Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care

Related non-award courses

Fundamentals of Palliative Care

Contemporary Approaches to Bereavement

Adult Palliative Care

Paediatric Palliative Care

Psychosocial Aspects of Palliative Care

*Note that places on the above short courses are limited. Priority for place is given to award students. Please contact School of Melbourne Custom Programs for further details +61 3 9810 3319.



Program Coordinator - Sanaa Vohra

Phone - +61 3 9810 3319

UoM Commercial

Hawthorn Office

Postal Address: Locked Bag 12, Hawthorn, VIC 3122

Street Address: 442 Auburn Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122

Parkville Office

Postal Address: The University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia

Street Address: 205-211 Grattan Street, Carlton VIC 3053


Phone: +61 3 9810 3322

Fax: +61 3 9810 3315